The History of Temecula Valley: From Mexico to Riverside County




Step into the history of Temecula Valley as you journey from its Mexican origins to its status as a prominent region in Riverside County. In the mid-1840s, the control of California shifted to Mexico, attracting settlers like Ewing Young, Isaac Galbraith, and John Turner to Temecula Valley. Temecula Valley has transformed into a vibrant tourist destination, drawing visitors from far and wide to experience its renowned wine region, historic old town, polo club, film festival, and championship golf courses. With its enchanting past and abundant attractions, Temecula Valley continues to mesmerize and delight.

The Early Settlers

Ewing Young, Isaac Galbraith, and John Turner

In the mid-1840s, when Mexico had control over California, a group of early settlers arrived in the Temecula area. Among them were Ewing Young, Isaac Galbraith, and John Turner. These individuals played a significant role in shaping the history and development of Temecula Valley.

From Rancho Cucamonga to Temecula

Sal Muñoz and the Preservation of Small Town Life

Sal Muñoz, a civil lawyer, relocated from Rancho Cucamonga to Temecula in 1989. He was elected as a member of Temecula’s first city council that same year. Muñoz has been a vocal advocate for preserving the small-town charm and way of life in Temecula. He believes that the city should pay more attention to maintaining its unique character and sense of community.


Temecula Valley Today

Tourism and Attractions

Temecula Valley has become a popular destination for tourists due to its various attractions. The region is renowned for its wineries, with the Temecula Valley wine region being a significant draw for visitors. The old town of Temecula offers a glimpse into the area’s rich history, while the Temecula Valley polo club and the Temecula Valley International Film Festival provide entertainment options for visitors.

Notable Landmarks

The region is also home to several notable landmarks. One such landmark is the Temecula Hotel, which was originally built in 1883. Although it had to be rebuilt in 1891, the structure still stands today and offers visitors the opportunity to experience a piece of Temecula’s history. Another landmark is Pennypickle’s Workshop, which has been recognized with Nickelodeon’s Parents’ Picks award for “Best Museum” and “Best Place for Children’s Parties.”

Sports Parks

Temecula boasts sports parks that provide recreational opportunities for residents and visitors alike. Ronald Reagan Sports Park, formerly known as Rancho California Sports Park, and Patricia H. Novotney Sports Park offer facilities for various sports activities. These parks contribute to the overall quality of life in Temecula Valley and promote an active lifestyle among its residents.

Building Boom in the Late 19th Century

Influx of Travelers and Commerce

The late 19th century saw a building boom in the Temecula Valley region. The arrival of the Southern California railroad in the 1880s brought an influx of travelers and commerce to the area. This growth led to the construction of many buildings, including the iconic Temecula Hotel. The increased activity and development during this period played a crucial role in shaping the future of Temecula Valley.

Rebuilding of the Temecula Hotel

While many buildings in the area were constructed around 1883, the original Temecula Hotel had to be rebuilt in 1891. Despite this, the structure still stands as a testament to the resilience and history of Temecula. Today, visitors have the unique opportunity to stay at the Temecula Hotel and experience the charm of a bygone era.


Educational Developments

Patricia Novotney’s Transfer and Role in Education

Temecula Valley has witnessed significant educational developments over the years. Patricia Novotney, a prominent figure in the local education system, transferred to Temecula from Irvine. She took on the role of superintendent for an elementary school and a high school that served 1,200 students. Novotney’s dedication and contributions to education have positively impacted the community.

Temecula as a Dorm Community for San Diego

Geographically located in the southwestern corner of Riverside County, Temecula Valley is often viewed as a dorm community for San Diego. Many residents commute to San Diego for work, taking advantage of Temecula’s convenient location and scenic surroundings. This dynamic has contributed to the growth and development of the region.

Holiday Celebrations in Temecula Valley

Visit Temecula Valley’s Cold Decorating Contest

The Visit Temecula Valley (VTV) cold decorating contest is an annual event that aims to create a festive atmosphere for travelers and employees during the holiday season. Local tourism businesses participate in the contest, competing to create the most impressive and visually appealing decorations. This celebration of holiday spirit adds to the charm and allure of Temecula Valley.

Balloon & Wine Festival

Another renowned event in Temecula Valley is the annual Balloon & Wine Festival. This festival at nearby Skinner Lake offers a unique blend of live entertainment, hot air balloon rides, and wine tasting. Visitors can experience the region’s beauty from a hot air balloon while enjoying the rich flavors of Temecula Valley’s renowned wines.


Temecula’s Chilled Eats & Treats

Outdoor Ice Skating and Holiday Shopping

Temecula offers a range of chilled eats and treats for visitors and residents alike. One popular activity is outdoor ice skating, which allows individuals to embrace the holiday season while enjoying time with friends and family. Additionally, the region provides ample opportunities for holiday shopping, with various stores and boutiques offering unique gifts and treasures.

Golf Courses in Temecula Valley

Notable Golf Clubs

For golf enthusiasts, Temecula Valley boasts several notable golf clubs. The Temecula Creek Golf Club, the CrossCreek Golf Club, and Journey at Pechanga are just a few examples of the exceptional golf courses in the region. These courses offer challenging gameplay and breathtaking views of the surrounding landscapes.

Spectacular Views

One of the standout features of golfing in Temecula Valley is the spectacular views accompanying the game. The rolling hills, lush greenery, and picturesque landscapes create a serene and awe-inspiring backdrop for golfers. Whether you’re a seasoned golfer or a beginner, playing a round of golf in Temecula Valley is an experience that combines both sport and natural beauty.


The Largest Employer in Temecula Valley

Employment Statistics

While not within the city limits, the largest employer in the Temecula Valley region employs approximately 5,000 people. This employer plays a significant role in the local economy, providing jobs and contributing to the community’s prosperity. The employment statistics in Temecula Valley highlight the region’s growth and potential for economic development.

In conclusion, Temecula Valley has a vibrant history that has shaped it into the thriving community it is today. From the early settlers who laid the foundation for the region’s development to the preservation of small-town life, Temecula Valley offers a unique blend of history, natural beauty, and recreational opportunities. With its tourism attractions, education advancements, holiday celebrations, and employment opportunities, Temecula Valley is a desirable destination for visitors and a welcoming home for residents.

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